October 27, 2019

LDF wrests two UDF seats in Kerala

NS Sajith

WITH a scintillating performance in the by-elections for five assembly constituencies in Kerala, the ruling Left Democratic Front has increased its tally from 92 to 93. After winning Pala assembly segment which was a 45-year old UDF bastion, the LDF has wrested two more seats from the UDF base, though lost one to the UDF.

In Vattiyoorkavu assembly segment in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, and Konni in Pathanamthitta distrtict, which are both decade long sitting seats of the Congress, LDF won with huge margins. Thiruvananthapuram mayor, V K Prasanth won in Vattiyoorkavu and DYFI state vice president, K U Jenish won in Konni with a margin of 14,465 and 9,953 votes respectively. The UDF won Manjeswar, Eranakulam both are their sitting seats; and in Aroor an LDF sitting seat. 

Elections in the four constituencies were necessitated due to the resignation of newly elected Lok Sabha members who were the sitting MLAs. In Manjeswar, the death of Abdul Rasak, MLA necessitated the by-election.

The victory of LDF in Vattiyoorkavu and Konni gets significance as the Nair Service Society (NSS), a prominent caste organisation of Nairs in Kerala, openly campaigned against the LDF. In both seats, NSS women squads campaigned in favour of the UDF. Konni was an epic centre of violent protests unleashed by Sangh Parivar and Congress in the name of Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala. It was widely believed that BJP had good chances in both seats as they came second in last Lok Sabha elections. In 2016 assembly elections, the BJP candidate in Vattiyoorkavu had finished second. But this time, BJP candidates were in the third position. The BJP lost more than 10,000 votes in both seats compared to the Lok Sabha elections.


V K Prasanth defeated Congress leader and former MLA, Mohan Kumar, while Jenish defeated Mohan Raj, a prominent Congress party leader. In Manjeshwar, Muslim League candidate Kamaruddin retained the seat defeating BJP candidate Raveesh Thanthri and LDF candidate Sankar Rai. Though the Congress could retain Eranakulam, they lost a major chunk of vote they gained in the last elections. In 2016, Hibi Eden won with a margin of 31,000 votes, now UDF candidate T J Vinod could manage to get a narrow margin of 3,637 votes over LDF candidate Manu Roy. In Aroor, where A M Arif, MP won for the last three terms, UDF candidate Shanimol Osman won with a narrow margin of 2,000 votes over LDF candidate Manu C Pulikkal.

CPI(M) state secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that this result gives a message that the LDF mass base is strengthened as secular democratic forces once again  performed well in Kerala. It is definitely a mandate for the pro-people measures of the LDF government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan, he said.